Jamaican Anglicans pool efforts for lasting community change

Anglicans helped to set up August Town Rugby Football Club, nicknamed the Wolverines, which is helping youth to express and contain anger and frustration in safe ways. Photo Credit: United Society

[ACNS] Anglicans in Jamaica have begun pooling their work and skills so that local churches’ “little efforts” can combine to make a big difference. This pioneering approach to mission, dubbed the Anglican Togetherness Group (ATG), is being supported by the Anglican mission agency United Society.

“The initiative started four years ago when six churches in the Mona Valley of Kingston – representing 8,000 people from all parts of the community – held community walks to raise awareness of local issues,” a spokesman for United Society said. “The walks were a success, leading to the launch of ATG, which aims to applaud what churches are already doing while enabling them to achieve more by learning from each other and sharing skills and resources.

“Some of these ‘little efforts’ include a homework and learning centre for students, vocational training in video production, peace management skills, and a rugby club that is helping young men to express and contain their anger and frustration in safe ways.”

ATG is co-ordinated by the Revd Garth Minott, who explained that “the aim is to bring together all those ‘little efforts’ which are already up and running and which have been giving people hope. By bringing people together, we can share a vision and share knowledge so that, united, we can have an even bigger impact in terms of long-lasting and sustainable positive change.

“ATG’s mission is to see congregations working and worshiping together to fulfil the Great Commission and facilitate change in the Mona Valley area and some surrounding areas. We want to see communities to grow emotionally, spiritually and physically through harnessing the gifts, talents and resources of local communities, including the training of new potential leaders.”

Eve Vernon, a programme adviser with the United Society, has been working with ATG and said: “United Society has worked with churches in the West Indies for nearly 300 years, so we are happy to join with the Diocese of Jamaica as they explore new contextual ways of community engagement.”

Reproduced from the Anglican Communion News Service.